Gartner says one out of every four server workloads will be in a virtual machine by the end of 2010, and that enterprises should attempt to double or triple the size of their virtualization deployments.
"More than 80 percent of enterprises now have a virtualization program or project, but only 25 percent of all server workloads will be in a virtual machine (VM) by year-end 2010," Gartner reports, suggesting that the analyst firm believes enterprises haven't gone far enough. Virtualization is "the highest-impact issue challenging infrastructure and operations," the analyst firm says.
Virtualization has been around for decades on the mainframe, but the adoption of virtulization on x86 servers, which make up 90% of the server market, is where the technology has seen its greatest growth.
According to VMware, its customers include every member of the Fortune 100. But some enterprises are still reluctant to place their most critical applications in virtual machines because of security concerns, performance issues and software licensing complications.
The proportion of virtualized workloads should continue growing significantly, as TheInfoPro and other researchers have reported that more than half of newly deployed servers are actually virtual machines, and that this number will hit 80% by 2012.
With Gartner saying "only" one quarter of workloads are virtualized, that means a lot of workloads that were running on physical machines have stayed put.
Server hypervisors are often free or sold inexpensively, so the ability to consolidate workloads onto fewer physical machines is readily available. But "as virtualization matures, the next 'big thing' will be automating the composition and management of the virtualized resources," Gartner said.
VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, the most widely used virtualization vendors, are all touting their ability to automate management of virtual resources and build cloud networks. But they have competition from Red Hat, Novell and others.